From zero to six: epiphyllums move in

Ten days ago, I didn't have a single epiphyllum. Now I have half a dozen. That's how quickly things can change in our garden! Priscilla, a new plant friend here in town, asked me if I wanted some epiphyllum cuttings since she hadn't seen any epiphyllum photos on my blog. At first, I was a bit hesitant, not wanting more plants I'd have to bring inside for the winter. But when she told me that hers have been fine outside, I immediately said yes. (Priscilla's experience with overwintering epiphyllums outside in Davis have since been confirmed by another local plant friend.) I planted the epiphyllum cuttings from Priscilla in coir-lined metal baskets and hung them from branches on the chaste tree ( Vitex agnus-castus ) in the backyard: Epiphyllums are said to bloom best when root-bound so I went with 8" baskets and put two hybrids in each basket From spring through fall, they'll receive fairly bright light but no direct sun. In the winter, they'll be in fu

Stephen and Gary's East Bay garden: succulents and more!

Sure, there are plenty of great gardens that don't have a single succulent. But let's face it, everything is better with a succulent or two in it. Stephen and his husband Gary would agree. Their hillside garden on an oak-studded ⅔ acre lot in the East Bay  would be beautiful simply by virtue of its terrain, but the way they have incorporated aloes, agaves, and especially cactus-like euphorbias adds another layer of awesomeness. I'd first visited Stephen and Gary's place in April 2016 , and the succulent garden above the house has been completely redone since then. As you'll see below, it's home to many choice specimens that thrive in the relatively mild climate—no hard freezes in the winter and very few days above 95°F in the summer. The entrance to the property is at the top of the hill. This is looking towards the house (built in 1929), and the succulent garden on the right The “signature” bed in the succulent garden Aloes, euphorbias, cactus, and even a Tylec

Return to Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Phoenix, AZ (May 2021)

The  Boyce Thompson Arboretum  (BTA) in Superior, Arizona is usually a quiet place. This week, however, it made headlines, but not the good kind: On June 7, 2021, the Arboretum was evacuated  because of a raging wildfire nearby. Ultimately, the Arboretum was spared , but the Telegraph Fire had come perilously close to destroying Arizona's largest (392 acres) and oldest botanical garden (opened in 1929). The thought of losing so much history is terrifying, but it's a vivid reminder of how drought and wildfires have become the new normal in much of the West. None of those things were foremost on my mind when I visited the Boyce Thompson Arboretum on May 19, 2021. It hadn't even been on my original itinerary, but I decided to take a more circuitous and scenic route to Tucson and swing by the BTA (see map below). That gave me an opportunity to take a selfie with my old buddies, these golden barrel cacti: Probably the most popular selfie spot in the entire Arboretum! As you can